Examining Genetic Engineering

Genome editing is now more efficient, precise, and flexible, contributing to the improvement of human health around the globe. Recent revolutionary advances like CRISPR have allowed for gene editing at both the somatic and germline level. However, the speed at which these technologies are being developed and used has many policymakers and stakeholders concerned about whether appropriate systems are in place to govern them. Our reports examine potential benefits and risks of these technologies, and present general principles for the governance of genetic engineering.

Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance

Genome editing is a powerful new tool for making precise alterations to an organism’s genetic material. Recent scientific advances have made genome editing more efficient, precise, and flexible than ever before. These advances have spurred an …

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Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects

Genetically engineered (GE) crops were first introduced commercially in the 1990s. After two decades of production, some groups and individuals remain critical of the technology based on their concerns about possible adverse effects on human …

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Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values

Research on gene drive systems is rapidly advancing. Many proposed applications of gene drive research aim to solve environmental and public health challenges, including the reduction of poverty and the burden of vector-borne diseases, such as …

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Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques: Ethical, Social, and Policy Considerations

Mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs) are designed to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diseases from mother to child. While MRTs, if effective, could satisfy a desire of women seeking to have a genetically related child …

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The Promise of Genome Editing Tools to Advance Environmental Health Research: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

Advances in genome editing – the process for making precise additions, deletions, and alterations of DNA and RNA – have opened the door for studying biological mechanisms of health and disease. On January 10-11, 2018, the National Academies of …

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Policy Issues in the Clinical Development and Use of Immunotherapy for Cancer Treatment: Proceedings of a Workshop

Immunotherapy is a form of cancer therapy that harnesses the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells. In recent years, immunotherapies have been developed for several cancers, including advanced melanoma, lung cancer, and kidney cancer. In …

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Exploring the Treatment of Research Participants

Advances in scientific research help improve, lengthen and save the lives of many around the world. However, research-driven studies can present risks to subjects, the research enterprise, and our communities. In order to maintain the quality of the research laboratory, protections are needed to preserve participants’ dignity and prevent potential harms. Our reports review the existing ethical and legal guidelines, and consider the opportunities and challenges that face participant-based research.

Returning Individual Research Results to Participants: Guidance for a New Research Paradigm

When is it appropriate to return individual research results to participants? The immense interest in this question has been fostered by the growing movement toward greater transparency and participant engagement in the research enterprise. Yet, the risks of returning individual research …

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Responsible Research: A Systems Approach to Protecting Research Participants

When 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger died in a gene transfer study at the University of Pennsylvania, the national spotlight focused on the procedures used to ensure research participants’ safety and their capacity to safeguard the well-being of those who volunteer for research …

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Ethical Conduct of Clinical Research Involving Children

In recent decades, advances in biomedical research have helped save or lengthen the lives of children around the world. With improved therapies, child and adolescent mortality rates have decreased significantly in the last half century. Despite these advances, pediatricians and others argue …

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Beyond the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Enhancing Privacy, Improving Health Through Research

In the realm of health care, privacy protections are needed to preserve patients’ dignity and prevent possible harms. Ten years ago, to address these concerns as well as set guidelines for ethical health research, Congress called for a set of federal standards now known as the HIPAA Privacy …

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Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners

In the past 30 years, the population of prisoners in the United States has expanded almost 5-fold, correctional facilities are increasingly overcrowded, and more of the country’s disadvantaged populations— minorities, women, people with mental illness, and people with communicable …

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Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences examines how to update human subjects protections regulations so that they effectively respond to current research contexts and methods. With a specific focus on social and …

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Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule: Perspectives of Social and Behavioral Scientists: Workshop Summary

On July 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) with the purpose of soliciting comments on how current regulations for protecting research participants could be modernized and revised. The rationale for revising the …

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Social Sciences and Military Intelligence

Science plays an essential role in national security for many countries, including the United States. Military intelligence relies heavily on research and knowledge from the social and behavioral sciences to form analyses and predictions. This contribution helps reduce uncertainty and provide warnings about ranging topics from international diplomatic relations to overseas conflicts. As these complex challenges continue, the involvement of social sciences will grow. Our reports serve as resources to understand the direct role behavioral sciences play in national security in order to help the intelligence community fulfill its critical responsibilities.

Social and Behavioral Sciences for National Security: Proceedings of a Summit

In the coming years, complex domestic and international environments and challenges to national security will continue. Intelligence analysts and the intelligence community will need access to the appropriate tools and developing knowledge about threats to national security in order to provide …

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Changing Sociocultural Dynamics and Implications for National Security: Proceedings of a Workshop

Beginning in October 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a set of workshops designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security. The first workshop focused on changing …

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Leveraging Advances in Social Network Thinking for National Security: Proceedings of a Workshop

Beginning in October 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a set of workshops designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security. The third workshop focused on advances in …

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Emerging Trends and Methods in International Security: Proceedings of a Workshop

Beginning in October 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a set of workshops designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security. The second workshop focused on emerging …

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Workforce Development and Intelligence Analysis for National Security Purposes: Proceedings of a Workshop

Beginning in October 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a set of workshops designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security. The fifth workshop focused on workforce development …

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Understanding Narratives for National Security: Proceedings of a Workshop

Beginning in October 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a set of workshops designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security. The sixth workshop focused on understanding …

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Learning from the Science of Cognition and Perception for Decision Making: Proceedings of a Workshop

Beginning in October 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a set of workshops designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security. The fourth workshop focused on the science of …

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Intelligence Analysis: Behavioral and Social Scientific Foundations

The U.S. intelligence community (IC) is a complex human enterprise whose success depends on how well the people in it perform their work. Although often aided by sophisticated technologies, these people ultimately rely on their own intellect to identify, synthesize, and communicate the …

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Intelligence Analysis for Tomorrow: Advances from the Behavioral and Social Sciences

The intelligence community (IC) plays an essential role in the national security of the United States. Decision makers rely on IC analyses and predictions to reduce uncertainty and to provide warnings about everything from international diplomatic relations to overseas conflicts. In today’s …

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Field Evaluation in the Intelligence and Counterintelligence Context: Workshop Summary

On September 22-23, 2009, the National Research Council held a workshop on the field evaluation of behavioral and cognitive sciences–based methods and tools for use in the areas of intelligence and counterintelligence. Broadly speaking, the purpose of the workshop was to discuss the best ways …

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Human Coastal Interaction

For the past century, humans have contributed to the changes observed in coastal environments. With approximately 40% of the world’s population residing near a coast, our impact on these diverse and sensitive zones creates long-lasting effects. These reports examine the dynamic relationship between humans and coastal ecosystems, and provide recommendations to reduce our footprint moving forward.

Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human Coastal System: The Future of the U.S. Gulf Coast

The U.S. Gulf Coast provides a valuable setting to study deeply connected natural and human interactions and feedbacks that have led to a complex, interconnected coastal system. The physical landscape in the region has changed significantly due to broad-scale, long-term processes such as coastal …

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Delta Waters: Research to Support Integrated Water and Environmental Management in the Lower Mississippi River

The Water Institute of the Gulf is a not-for-profit, independent research institute dedicated to advancing the understanding of coastal, deltaic, river and water resource systems, both within the Gulf Coast and around the world. Their mission supports …

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Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative

No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation and its communities. Communities and the nation …

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Reducing Coastal Risk on the East and Gulf Coasts

Hurricane- and coastal-storm-related losses have increased substantially during the past century, largely due to increases in population and development in the most susceptible coastal areas. Climate change poses additional threats to coastal communities from sea level rise and possible …

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Using Biology as a Potential Defense

Synthetic biology allows and promotes the production or alteration of biological organisms, often for beneficial purposes like reducing diseases and improving agricultural output. While well-intentioned, this innovative field also presents potential risks that could leave many populations vulnerable and threaten livelihoods. Our reports examine the opportunities and concerns surrounding synthetic biology, and offer recommendations to guide this discussion and address these challenges.

Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology

Scientific advances over the past several decades have accelerated the ability to engineer existing organisms and to potentially create novel ones not found in nature. Synthetic biology, which collectively refers to concepts, approaches, and …

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Industrialization of Biology: A Roadmap to Accelerate the Advanced Manufacturing of Chemicals

The tremendous progress in biology over the last half century – from Watson and Crick’s elucidation of the structure of DNA to today’s astonishing, rapid progress in the field of synthetic biology – has positioned us for significant innovation in …

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Life Sciences and Related Fields: Trends Relevant to the Biological Weapons Convention

During the last decade, national and international scientific organizations have become increasingly engaged in considering how to respond to the biosecurity implications of developments in the life sciences and in assessing trends in science and …

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Preparing for Future Products of Biotechnology

Between 1973 and 2016, the ways to manipulate DNA to endow new characteristics in an organism (that is, biotechnology) have advanced, enabling the development of products that were not previously possible. What will the likely future products of …

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Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies

The potential misuse of advances in life sciences research is raising concerns about national security threats. Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies examines the U.S. strategy for reducing …

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Countering Bioterrorism: The Role of Science and Technology

The attacks of September 11 and the release of anthrax spores revealed enormous vulnerabilities in the U.S. public-health infrastructure and suggested similar vulnerabilities in the agricultural infrastructure as well. The traditional public …

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Supporting Women in STEM

Released on Tuesday, Sexual Harassment of Women focuses on one of many roadblocks to the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in academia. The reports listed below explore these issues and offer recommendations to better support women in these roles.

Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Over the last few decades, research, activity, and funding has been devoted to improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine. In recent years the diversity of those participating in these fields, particularly the participation …

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Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

The United States economy relies on the productivity, entrepreneurship, and creativity of its people. To maintain its scientific and engineering leadership amid increasing economic and educational globalization, the United States must aggressively pursue the innovative capacity of all its …

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Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia: Summary of a Conference

Seeking Solutions: Maximizing American Talent by Advancing Women of Color in Academia is the summary of a 2013 conference convened by the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine of the National Research Council to discuss the current status of women of color in academia …

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Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty presents new and surprising findings about career differences between female and male full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty in science, engineering, and mathematics at the …

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To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering

Although more women than men participate in higher education in the United States, the same is not true when it comes to pursuing careers in science and engineering. To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering identifies and discusses better practices for …

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Career Choices of Female Engineers: A Summary of a Workshop

Despite decades of government, university, and employer efforts to close the gender gap in engineering, women make up only 11 percent of practicing engineers in the United States. What factors influence women graduates’ decisions to enter the engineering workforce and either to stay in or leave …

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Blueprint for the Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context: Summary of a Workshop

The scientific work of women is often viewed through a national or regional lens, but given the growing worldwide connectivity of most, if not all, scientific disciplines, there needs to be recognition of how different social, political, and economic mechanisms impact women’s participation in …

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Who Will Do the Science of the Future?: A Symposium on Careers of Women in Science

Who Will Do the Science of the Future? is the summary of a symposium on careers of women in science. The symposium incorporated three panels of presenters: one focusing on the next generation, Science for All Students; a second that looks in depth at the issues reflected in one particular field of …

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Women in the Chemical Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable

For a period of history no women worked outside the home. Bust as years have gone by and society has changed, Women are working varying jobs every day. They are, however, underrepresented in some sectors of jobs. This includes women in the engineering and science fields. To matters worse, women …

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Understanding Climate Change

Climate change continues to pose significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. The current warming trend is growing at an unprecedented rate – this year the U.S. saw its warmest May on record. Our collection of reports emphasize the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization through improving understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change.

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the publication is intended as a brief, readable …

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Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change

As climate has warmed over recent years, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded across the globe. Climate models simulate such changes in extreme events, and some of the reasons for the changes are well understood. Warming increases the likelihood of …

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Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and …

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Arctic Matters: The Global Connection to Changes in the Arctic

Viewed in satellite images as a jagged white coat draped over the top of the globe, the high Arctic appears distant and isolated. But even if you don’t live there, don’t do business there, and will never travel there, you are closer to the Arctic than you think. Arctic Matters: The Global …

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Enhancing Participation in the U.S. Global Change Research Program

The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a collection of 13 Federal entities charged by law to assist the United States and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. As the understanding of global change has evolved …

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The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions

Once ice-bound, difficult to access, and largely ignored by the rest of the world, the Arctic is now front and center in the midst of many important questions facing the world today. Our daily weather, what we eat, and coastal flooding are all interconnected with the future of the Arctic. The …

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America’s Climate Choices

Climate change is occurring. It is very likely caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. And these emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater …

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Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) determines our ability to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Recognizing the essential role this process plays in a child’s development, a growing number of schools and districts are incorporating SEL into their strategic plans and curricula. Our reports serve as resources to guide this implementation and discuss the science behind SEL.

Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice

Bullying has long been tolerated as a rite of passage among children and adolescents. There is an implication that individuals who are bullied must have “asked for” this type of treatment, or deserved it. Sometimes, even the child who is bullied …

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Approaches to the Development of Character: Proceedings of a Workshop

The development of character is a valued objective for many kinds of educational programs that take place both in and outside of school. Educators and administrators who develop and run programs that seek to develop character recognize that the …

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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How

The assessment of young children’s development and learning has recently taken on new importance. Private and government organizations are developing programs to enhance the school readiness of all young children, especially children from …

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Exploring Early Childhood Care and Education Levers to Improve Population Health: Proceedings of a Workshop

On September 14, 2017, the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop to explore the intersection of health and early childhood care and education, two key …

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Exploring Opportunities for Collaboration Between Health and Education to Improve Population Health: Workshop Summary

Research based on decades of experience in the developing world has identified educational status, especially the status of the mother, as a major predictor of health outcomes and that the literature indicates that the gradient in health outcomes …

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Building Capacity to Reduce Bullying: Workshop Summary

Bullying – long tolerated as just a part of growing up – finally has been recognized as a substantial and preventable health problem. Bullying is associated with anxiety, depression, poor school performance, and future delinquent behavior among …

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Innovations in Design and Utilization of Measurement Systems to Promote Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health: Workshop Summary

Many measurement systems to monitor the well-being of children and guide services are implemented across the community, state, and national levels in the United States. While great progress has been made in recent years in developing …

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Summertime Opportunities to Promote Healthy Child and Adolescent Development: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

What children and adolescents do and learn in the summertime can have profound effects on their health and well-being, educational attainment, and career prospects. To explore the influence of summertime activities on the lives of young people, …

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The Future of Urban Planning

Cities have experienced an unprecedented rate of growth in the last decade, and this continued growth highlights the importance of a sustainable future. More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas, with the U.S. percentage at 80 percent. Cities have captured more than 80 percent of the globe’s economic activity and offered social mobility and economic prosperity to millions by clustering creative, innovative, and educated individuals and organizations. Clustering populations, however, can compound both positive and negative conditions, with many modern urban areas experiencing growing inequality, debility, and environmental degradation. Our reports recommend strategies and pathways that will aid in the ongoing development of urban planning.

Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United States

Cities have experienced an unprecedented rate of growth in the last decade. More than half the world’s population lives in urban areas, with the U.S. percentage at 80 percent. Cities have captured more than 80 percent of the globe’s economic …

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Urban Forestry: Toward an Ecosystem Services Research Agenda: A Workshop Summary

Much of the ecological research in the past decades has focused on rural or wilderness areas. Today, however, ecological research has been taking place in our cities, where our everyday decisions can have profound effects on our environment. …

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Livable Cities of the Future: Proceedings of a Symposium Honoring the Legacy of George Bugliarello

At the beginning of the 20th century an estimated five percent of the world’s population lived in cities. Today, half the world’s population is urbanized. Urban sustainability is multifaceted and encompasses security, economics, environment and …

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Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters: Strategies, Opportunities, and Planning for Recovery

In the devastation that follows a major disaster, there is a need for multiple sectors to unite and devote new resources to support the rebuilding of infrastructure, the provision of health and social services, the restoration of care delivery …

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Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity

In the United States, some populations suffer from far greater disparities in health than others. Those disparities are caused not only by fundamental differences in health status across segments of the population, but also because of inequities …

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Transportation Systems for Livable Communities

TRB’s Conference Proceedings on the Web 6: Transportation Systems for Livable Communities summarizes the results of an October 2010 conference that explored the challenges of incorporating livability into transportation programs and …

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International Day of Light

The International Day of Light recognizes the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer, Theodore Maiman. We acknowledge this day in history in an effort to improve the public understanding of how light and light-based technologies touch our daily lives beyond scientific applications, including aspects of art, culture, entertainment. Our publications explore these technologies and highlight their importance to the future development of our global society.

Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation

Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense capabilities, and a plethora of medical diagnostics tools. …

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Controlling the Quantum World: The Science of Atoms, Molecules, and Photons

As part of the Physics 2010 decadal survey project, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation requested that the National Research Council assess the opportunities, over roughly the next decade, in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) science and technology. In particular, …

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Assessment of Solid-State Lighting, Phase Two

The standard incandescent light bulb, which still works mainly as Thomas Edison invented it, converts more than 90% of the consumed electricity into heat. Given the availability of newer lighting technologies that convert a greater percentage of electricity into useful light, there is potential …

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Seeing Photons: Progress and Limits of Visible and Infrared Sensor Arrays

The Department of Defense recently highlighted intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities as a top priority for U.S. warfighters. Contributions provided by ISR assets in the operational theaters in Iraq and Afghanistan have been widely documented in press reporting. While …

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Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light

The laser has revolutionized many areas of science and society, providing bright and versatile light sources that transform the ways we investigate science and enables trillions of dollars of commerce. Now a second laser revolution is underway with pulsed petawatt-class lasers (1 petawatt: 1 …

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